Peru, the third largest country in South America, is home to 29 million people. The country's multiethnic population is overwhelmingly Catholic, and motherhood is highly valued. Although divorce has been legal since 1936, the pressure to marry and remain married is strong. Women are expected to have children after they marry, or, among poorer groups for whom marriage is too costly, after beginning to cohabitate. The cultural ideals of familism and self-sacrificing femininity promote the subordination of women's interests and needs to those of the husband and children.

Over half of Peruvians are poor and nearly a quarter is extremely poor. Life expectancy is 72 years for women and 67 years for men. Adult literacy is 87.9 percent. The contraceptive prevalence rate among married women aged ...

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